As the squad begins pre-season training, our irregular Crystal Palace correspondent, GOLDIE, has hawked to us his football version of “Snog, Marry, Avoid”, identifying the players that he would really like to see signed up to play at Selhurst Park in the 2015-2016 season. And those he wouldn’t touch with a very long barge pole
Remember the summer when Ian Holloway went into the transfer market, under-funded and, it seemed, without any plans for life in the Premier League?
Or last summer, when Tony Pulis was caught between a rock and a hard place over the club’s direction (can it really only be 11 months ago since he walked out)?
It all means that since the last day of the season, with Premier League status long-before secured under Alan Pardew, the backroom staff at Crystal Palace have had the prospect of the first real dabble into the summer transfer market for three years. Properly planned. Properly funded. And Pardew-managed.
Fantasy football comes to SE25. With a good old south London dose of financial reality, of course. But these are the five players I reckon we could do with:
Yohan Cabaye – Star rating (out of five): 6*
The club’s co-chairman, Steve Parish, has this week come out and said that signing the France international midfielder would be “massive”, and there’s few Palace fans who would disagree. Sold to Paris St Germain by Newcastle in January last year for £19 million, even though he is 29, Palace would be getting a knockdown bargain, as Cabaye is deemed surplus to requirement, and he would welcome working with Pardew again.
“It would be a massive thing for the club obviously, because he’s a seasoned international,” Parish said.
Cabaye would offer the sort of Premier League-style quality we need in midfield, with his ability to keep possession, and he would provide something else we have been lacking from our midfielders, goals.
Loic Remy: 4*
Quality strikers are what define good Premier League sides from the rest, and with the other comings and goings reported among the existing Palace strike force as Pardew begins to shape the squad as he wants it, it is clear that we need another forward to provide back-up and variety with Glenn Murray.
Like Cabaye, Remy is another French international with fond memories of working with Pardew when at Newcastle.
Remy managed seven league goals in just six starts last season as he spent far too long for a player of his class warming the bench at Stamford Bridge.
But now he looks to be third in the fronntman pecking order at Chelsea now, behind Diego Costa and Radamel Falcao. The snags for Palace in trying to sign him could be the £15 million price tag (always negotiable) and the more problematic £80,000-a-week wages 28-year-old Remy has got used to at Stamford Bridge.
But he would be good value, as he is pacy, versatile, and gets goals from nothing.
Ola John: 4*
The 23-year-old Benfica winger could be just the sort of player we will need if Yannick Bolasie does pack his bags for White Hart Lane.
Swansea, where his brother Collins John plays, had looked to signing the Dutch international a year ago, and clubs in the US Soccer League have also expressed an interest in this pacy player.
With experience of playing in European competition, John looks like he would fit in well with Palace’s playing style. Reports suggest that he has already had meetings with Pardew as he considers options – one of which would be to cash-in and accept the best-price offered for £20million-rated Bolasie if he has a ready-made replacement like John to come in at a fraction of that price.
Scott Dann: 5*
Yes, of course Scotty Dann’s already a Palace player.
And he’s a real Palace fans’ favourite, too, the Player of the Season.
Which is why if Pardew manages to persuade him to stay at Selhurst Park, despite offers from Everton, it will be the equivalent of us signing a £15-million-plus rated defender.
To be frank, the £8 million offered by the Merseysiders is bordering on an insult, and you fear that they might have loaded the financials of the deal to offer massive wages to lure Dann away.
The question which Pardew and the directors need to consider is whether they can find the dosh to persuade Dann to stay. He is arguably the finest centre back the club has ever had, and he is the reason the defence went from shambles to sharp in 2013-2014. He is a leader on the pitch, who has influenced and helped improve the players around him, the superglue that holds us together at the back.
Can you put a price on that?
Steven Caulker: 3*
Even with the one-year contract extension signed by Brede Hangeland, Palace really need another centre back.
Let’s hope Steven Caulker has learned to regret not having signed for Palace a year ago, when he had the chance.
It’s not often you get a second chance, but the 23-year-old England international Caulker could be one of the many over-rewarded players on the books at Loftus Road that relegated QPR need to off-load in a hurry.
Caulker was signed for £8 million a year ago from Cardiff. So Palace might be able to land an England international defender for less than £5 million. Premier League new boys Bournemouth are reported looking to sign Caulker, but a third successive season playing in defence for a team facing a relegation battle is hardly going to do the player’s England prospects much good, is it? Besides, have you seen the property prices around Poole Harbour?
- These are just Goldie’s suggestions of what Pardew’s Palace needs to kick-on from last season. What are yours? Post your comments below
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